Carpet Moth and Its Specific Control

  • Added:
    Sep 24, 2012
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The Tapestry Moth or Carpet Moth (Trichophaga tapetzella) is found worldwide. The moth flies from April to October depending on the location and has very distinctive markings asisting with identification (see picture right). The larvae feed on animal skin, bird nests, fur, clothing, carpets and upholstery made of natural fibres or animal skin.

Carpet moths can complete a number of lifecycles within a year and are more like webbing clothes moths in that they spin webbing in areas where they like to reside. You may see these silken cases or threads, either during their life as larvae or after pupation.

Their speed of development depends entirely upon local temperature, humidity and food supplies and can be as fast as 8 weeks from egg to adult, resulting in several generations during the summer, but the last generation of larvae will carry on as larvae through the winter (and eating your carpet) while waiting for the warmer spring temperatures to pupate and re-start the adult cycle. It is not uncommon to find larvae the same colour as your carpet fibres having eaten the dyes in the carpet pile.  They will look for undisturbed, darker areas to lay their eggs - hence being more likely found under sofas and other furniture, behind curtains and along skirting boards.

Please note that Clothes Moth larvae are just as likely to eat the wool in carpets - if your carpet moth damage issue looks like it is from a different moth to the Tapestry or Carpet Moth, it may well be Webbing Clothes Moths.

The treatment routines are the same regardless of the type of moth invading your home.  You may wish to consider protecting your clothes in wardrobes, cupboards and drawers if you have experienced moths in your home in case they have reached other rooms in the house.

What You Need to Know

  1. Moths can cause damage to wool and silk clothing as well as carpets, upholstery and blankets.
  2. The moths themselves are not the problem, rather it is their larvae who eat the fabric when they hatch.
  3. Never put clothes away dirty. This will reduce the chances of moths being attracted to your clothes.
  4. If you're placing your clothes in storage, put them in a plastic storage bag.
  5. Moths hate light and being disturbed. Shaking at your clothes once a month or them out in the sun should deter them.
  6. A hot wash will kill moths. If you cannot wash the item, place it in a plastic bag and put it in the freezer. This will also do the job.

Author's Profile

Graeme Stephens has been running the largest owned carpet cleaning company in new Zealand for 24 years. IICRC qualified "master restoration technician"

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